Yadier Molina’s knee injury went from big scare to weekend off, as the Cardinals catcher returned to the lineup yesterday after an MRI exam showed no structural damage. However, the Cardinals are planning to give Molina more days off in an effort to keep him healthy.
Molina started 79 of the first 85 games, which is a huge workload for any catcher, but it’s always tough to sit a guy hitting .350. Manager Mike Matheny told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that “it’s something we’re going to try and stay on top of” and “there are days when we’re going to have to get him some rest.”
Considering how poorly catchers tend to age more days off can never hurt and Molina in particular has logged tons of innings behind the plate at age 30. He ranks second among all MLB catchers in innings caught this season and in the previous four seasons he ranked third, third, first, and second. Now that the Cardinals have Molina signed through 2018 they have more motivation than ever to keep him from breaking down due to a heavy workload.
The Giants have acquired All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Adalberto Mejia, the club announced on Thursday night.
Nunez, 29, went 0-for-4 in Thursday night’s game against the Orioles. He’s hitting .296/.325/.439 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, 49 runs scored, and a league-best 26 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances this season. Nunez has played mostly at shortstop this season, but has also logged significant time at third base and a handful of games at second base, so he’ll give the Giants some versatility.
Nunez will likely play a lot of third base for the Giants as Matt Duffy is still sidelined with a strained left Achilles. He’s earning $1.475 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility heading into 2017.
Mejia, 23, was considered the Giants’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento last month after posting a 1.94 ERA with Double-A Richmond. In seven starts with Sacramento, he has a 4.20 ERA with a 43/11 K/BB ratio in 40 2/3 innings.
With a roster spot open, the Twins called up infield prospect Jorge Polanco from Triple-A Rochester, per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.